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Deliberate Practice in Combat Application Tourniquet Placement by Loop Passage

Fall 2019

Kragh JF, Aden JK, Dubick MA. 19(3). 45 - 50. (Journal Article)


Background: We sought opportunities to develop learning practices of individual first aid providers. In this study, we simulated deliberate practice in placing limb tourniquets. Methods: This study comprised tourniquet uses by two experienced persons. Their practice sessions focused on developing a motor skill with periodic coaching. The Combat Application Tourniquet is 1.5-inches wide and was used in a technique of loop passage around the end of the limb to place it 2-3 inches above the wound. The simulated limb was a Z-Medica Hemorrhage Control Trainer. Both users applied the tourniquet six times over 5 days to accrue 30 uses individually (N = 60 tourniquet applications for the study). Results: When represented as summary parameters, differences were small. For example, average ease of use was the same for both users, but such parameters only took a snapshot of performance, yielding a general assessment. However, for a learning curve by use number, a surrogate of experience accrual, application time revealed spiral learning. The amount that users compressed a limb averaged -15% compared with its unsqueezed state. Placement accuracy was classified relative to gap widths between the tourniquet and the wound, and of 60 performances, 55 were satisfactory and five were unsatisfactory (i.e., placement was <2 inches from the wound). When a tourniquet only overlaid the 2-inch edge of the placement zone (i.e., tourniquet was 2-3.5 inches away from the wound), no error was made, but errors were made in crossing that 2-inch edge. These gauging errors led us to create a template for learners to see and to demonstrate what the meaning of 2-3 inches is. Conclusion: Each metric had value in assessing first aid, but turning attention to gauging wound-tourniquet gaps revealed placement errors. Analysis of such errors uncovered what 2-3 inches meant in operation. Spiral learning may inform the development of best readiness practices such as coaching deliberate-practice sessions.

Keywords: Combat Application Tourniquet; tourniquet placement; limb wound; Stop the Bleed; motor control and learning; loop-passage technique

PMID: 31539433

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